The Red Cross loves my blood because it’s O-negative. They call and email me constantly, wanting more because I am a universal donor. My blood can be given to anyone–victims at an accident site where taking time to determine blood type can be fatal, newborns whose blood type cannot be determined yet. They tell me one pint of my blood can save up to six lives!
They phoned me last night, saying there is a critical shortage of my type of blood–and we realized Frankenstorm may create an even greater shortage. So Jerry and I both gave blood today. (We always give together.)
I usually get woozy after giving blood. In the old days, before I knew I was supposed to drink a lot of water first and eat iron-rich food, I often came close to passing out. Halfway through my first donation, I felt life draining out of me. The phlebotomist took one look at my face and jerked the needle out of my arm. (I was under the minimum weight limit but wore a lot of clothing so they couldn’t tell because I wanted to donate for a friend about to undergo surgery.)
Even now the staff fusses over me, putting cold compresses here and there, making me keep my eyes open and my knees up for a long time afterwards.
So before we gave blood today, we went and stuffed ourselves at Hof’s Hut. I had pumpkin pancakes and sausage. Afterwards we helped ourselves to the free juice, cookies, and pretzels. (We also got discount coupons to El Torito Restaurant.)
Usually we go straight home and I go to bed for awhile, babying myself and hydrating periodically. This time we had to stop at the bank on the way to sign some papers. I didn’t break out in a cold sweat, I didn’t have that ringing in my ears but I did have to sink into the first chair we came to, put my head down to my knees and let Jerry bring the papers to me. My signature was wobbly. I did have to stop again and sit on the steps of the bank on the way out because my legs were buckling. Then we went home and took naps.
But it is always worth it. I don’t like needles but I like giving blood. I like knowing it helps people and I like it because I’m not scared of the process, just a little nervous, which is not at all the same thing. (In fact, I’m more scared of the finger stick ahead of time to check my iron level.) I know for a fact, know it in my spirit, that grateful recipients are praying for those of us who donate blood because I feel peace and the presence of Jesus.
And I like being able to give blood because Someone’s blood saved me, too.